Ballyhaise N.S--- 5-4
St. Felim's N.S Cavan ----0-2
The Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Division Two Hurling Cup will winter in Ballyhaise following a convincing victory by the local St. Mary’s National School over a gallant St. Felim’s crew.
In perfect conditions at the 3G on Wednesday afternoon last, the Ballyhaise-based boys exhibited a superior skill-set; were a better balanced outfit and thoroughly deserved their day in the sun.
For all that, the St. Felim’s lads can feel hard done in respect of the margin of their defeat for it didn’t do justice to their collective efforts over the course of a game which was much more evenly contested than the final score suggests.
The last of the triumvirate of schools finals played last week was a game that mirrored the open, fluid and spirited fare served up in the two preceding football deciders.
Granted, the hurling final saw much more congestion in the middle third and the respective defences had the upper hand for extended periods, notably the winners’ rearguard where Colin McKiernan was a commanding and versatile presence with his forays up the field upholstering his team-mates’ best efforts in the last third.
The tone of the game was established from the early minutes with Ballyhaise operating on the front foot and taking the best out of ‘Felim’s ‘keeper Ryan Somers after the stand-out Cormac Smith let fly from distance.
Young Somers hadn’t the same good fortune in the 8th minute when he was beaten by Ross O’Gorman’s exocet which fairly flew into the ‘Felim’s net for the opening score.
The chasing team proceeded to fight the good fight though and good play by Brían O’Rourke and Jack Dunne kept their team very much in the mix.
Ballyhaise continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession and goalkeeper Somers again had to be alert in quick succession to prevent Raens Ruthus and Killian Brady from goaling.
St. Felim’s defended gallantly throughout the contest but the omens weren’t good for them in the run-up to the interval when Ballyhaise extended their lead courtesy of a brace of points from Cormac Smith.
The second half was only in its infancy when Ballyhaise netted again, this time Killian Brady hitting the jugular after Colm Brady’s long puck into the square wasn’t sufficiently dealt with by the Saints’ defence.
Jack Dunne then went close to scoring for ‘Felim’s and team-mate Brían O’Rourke shot narrowly wide seconds later.
A fine point under pressure from Ross O’Gorman gave ‘Felim’s a chink of light and a converted free by Patrick Teevan added to the chasing team’s momentum but that was as good as it got for the would-be losers.
St. Felim’s ace Brían O’Rourke was narrowly off target but then Ballyhaise sealed the deal with a goal from Ross O’Gorman followed by similar efforts from Cormac Hegarty and Cormac Smith in the dregs of the game.
St. Mary’s N.S Ballyhaise: Colin McKiernan; Cormac Clarke, Connor Reilly, Patrick Teevan, Cormac Hegarty (1-0), Ross O’Gorman (2-1), Raens Ruthus, Andy McEvoy, Cormac Smith (1-3, f), Connor Smith, Colm Brady. Subs; Nykolas Simonailes, Fiachra Dowd, Michael Kelly, Tadhg Patterson, Killian Brady (1-0), Sean McKiernan, Leo Jennings.
St. Felim’s N.S Cavan: Ryan Somers; Luke Jermymn, Robert Nabulin, Shane Keogh, Jack Dunne (0-1, f), Eoghan Galligan, Brían O’Rourke (0-1), Caolan Smith, Jeff McCourt, Calvin Brady, Daragh Byrne. Subs; Kalvin Smith, Martin Krupa, James O’Hanlon, Mantas Norbutas, Jack Flood, TJ Connolly, Matthew Chen, Paul Surlis, Sidas Litvinis.
Player of the Match; Colin McKiernan (St. Mary’s N.S)